A Grad and Senior Manager for Social Media at MTV Talks Authenticity and Engagement

As a Senior Manager for Social Media and Fan Engagement at MTV, Alyssa Velazquez has the kind of job aspiring tastemakers dream of.

“I grew up on MTV,” she says. “But I could have never imagined this would be my career because this job didn’t even exist when I was a kid.”

A graduate of Full Sail’s online Entertainment Business Master’s program, Alyssa is responsible for overseeing visual assets like videos, graphics, and gifs that make their way onto MTV’s social media channels. We recently caught up with her to discuss best practices for building a better social media presence.

One brand, many voices.

“The conversation on each channel tends to be slightly different,” says Alyssa.

To hone in on that, her team employs several “community managers” to run platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Because each channel is managed by a different person, they all take on a slightly different voice that caters to the uniqueness of the medium. This gives users and sense of engaging with a real person rather than a faceless corporation.

“Our community managers have control when it comes to writing captions or tweets,” says Alyssa. “Then, we come in with a unified visual style that ties it all together. Our overarching brand voice is that of a cooler friend who’s in the know of pop culture and things going on in the world.”

For students and new grads looking to break into the industry, she suggests looking at examples of how each channel is different, and really focusing in on trying to tailor a voice for each platform.

Authenticity is crucial to engagement.

“These days, social media is more personal than ever,” says Alyssa. “People expect accounts to be curated, but they can also detect inauthenticity a mile away. At MTV, we strive to be as authentic and transparent as possible.”

For example, Alyssa’s team is open about the fact that it’s composed of mostly women. During the recent “Day Without a Woman” strike, they made the collective decision to participate in the movement by taking the day off. With the support of management, they were able to craft automated responses to their audience, complete with links to a landing page that provided information and resources pertaining to the event.

“As a forward-facing department, it felt important to highlight our beliefs in the moment,” says Alyssa. “And because MTV’s company culture is the way it is, the movement spread from our department to the rest of the company fairly quickly.”

Understanding how to steer the conversation will help you land and keep a job.

Alyssa starts her day by meeting with her team to discuss goals for the day. This includes an existing, pre-determined content plan, but also any breaking news or pop culture happenings that occurred since the last meeting. Everything is fair game – from Selena Gomez’s new haircut to the state of international politics. It’s not unlike the typical water cooler conversation going on in offices across the country, she says.

“When something happens in the media, people tend to look to social media first. So it helps to have a strong understanding of how information gets distributed on those platforms.”

The best way to land a job working in social media? Curate your own channels the way you would a brand channel.

“Just like people know what to expect from MTV’s Twitter or Instagram feed, they will eventually come to expect a certain kind of content from people’s personal feeds based on their post history,” says Alyssa. “Curating that content and being able to show it off as a portfolio is crucial to working in the industry.”